Thursday, September 29, 2011

“For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.” ~ Anthony Robbins

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 71:

Well, it was my least favorite workout day today - Bodyweight exercise day. Eh. I dunno. Couldn't tell you what it is I don't like about them... perhaps it is because they are the thing I struggle with the most (Burpees, why do you hate me?). Nonetheless, I do it. Today, I had all sorts of excuses not to do it - was running around like a crazy person after work - but, I remembered to prioritize me a little, and I squeezed in a workout while the laundry was running, and before dinner. Yeah!
I did get an exceptional raised eyebrow from the Paternal Unit, when he happened to come down the stairs just as I was overhead squatting the full laundry basket (just to see if I could...). He's afraid the pod-people have come for his daughter. Hmm.

Anyway, today's slightly shorter, but intense (did it fast, and hard!) bodyweight WOD is as follows:

  • Squats x 60
  • Push-ups x 50 (Still on my knees. Grr.)
  • Dips x 30  
  • Calf Raises x 50 
  • Lunges x 50 
  • Scissor Kicks x 80 
  • Burpees (... of Death) x 20 (WHY do these suck so much?!)
And, that's that, today. Nothing fancy, but lesson of the Day: No matter how crazy life gets, you can MAKE half an hour to get sweaty, if you want to. 

How bad do you want it?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement. - Brian Tracy

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 70:

May I just start by saying, "Day 70.". Wow. That's a pretty long time. Technically, I've passed the "habit-forming" stage of doing something... and I'm still going. 70 days of 6x/week, focused exertion. I'm proud of that. In case you haven't noticed, or are wondering why I often will mention how proud I am of myself for doing this thing or that thing... well, it's because I need the reminders. If every day I remind myself of even ONE thing that I'm proud of myself for doing, it really helps fuel the fire. I strive to do at least one thing every day that I can say I'm proud of (hopefully more than that, but you get the idea.).

So, Today, I'm proud that I have done this for 70 days, and I'm still going strong. And getting strong. YEAH, Gun Show. lol. I really probably should start taking some progress pictures for posterity... but that is still a really terrifying idea for me. As much as I have embraced this transformation, and am learning to love who I am, there are still many many parts of me that I have not embraced yet. Photo documenting them is... ick. If I could just take pictures of the parts/things I like... Well, I suppose I could? hmm. I don't know. I think I'm going to have to ruminate on this a bit, Blogland. Anyone else have thoughts on taking pictures along the journey? If so, how did you get over a major case of photo/mirror "ick" when you took them? Maybe I don't need progress pics. I have "befores"... and I'll be sure to take a muddy "after". (Spartan Race is only 317 days away!!!)

Anyway, on to today's WOD:

  • Thrusters (21#DBs) x 6 sets/6 reps
  • T-handle swings (22#) 20 sec on/10 off
A quick-ish workout tonight (which was just as well, the hours in the day are evaporating!! Yikes!)... but at least I did it. I can't say it was my best work, but it was work, regardless. Couldn't quite get up the speed with this today, that I'd been aiming for. Last time I got around 18-19 swings in 20 secs (good), today I was slower, around 16-17. Still got myself warmed up and breathing, though. I think today, in light of my recent kettlebell refresher class, I was focusing more on my form during this - chest up, swinging higher (more between the legs, not closer to the floor), etc. I'll be interested to see if/how much I'm sore tomorrow, having made sure to do these correctly. 
And, as usual, Thrusters kicked my ass. Eff you squat-based exercises. I love you and hate you, all at once. haha. 

As a side note, I think it's just about time to up my weights again. HMM. I have to check my weights, but I think that would put me around 24# per DB. BEASTLY, I tell you. LOL. I may be slower than death when I run, but I'll be damn if I'm not a work horse when it comes to moving heavy loads. It's in the genes! (My Great, great (great?) G-Pa was Louis Cyr, a legendary Strongman. How cool is that?)

With that, I think it's bed time. Happy I squeeze in the fast workout today, even though I have 401 things to do. BUT... Priorities are priorities! 

The Spartans do not ask how many are the enemy, but where are they. - Plutarch

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 69:

Short one tonight, Blog Land... I'm TIIIRED.

Today was Run Day... and I headed out on the flatter route today, under the instruction to have "fast feet," from my GT. So... I did my best ("embraced the suck" as the Spartan ladies would say), and tried to bust it out as fast as possible... Which, was actually feeling okay - dare I say "good"? ... right up until the calf cramp. BUT... I hobbled through that a bit, and was able to pick right back up. Success!

Anyway, I'm proud of today's run stats:
Time: 35.56
Distance: 3.16
Average min/mile: 11.21

.... yes friends, I managed to shave 20 seconds off my average mile time. Which, seems a bit insignificant, but it felt HUGE while I was running it. I am (for real) really interested to see what a 10 min/mi feels like. But... One thing at a time. Must just keep lacing up my sneakers and doing the work. It'll happen. I do feel, at least, like I busted through a bit of a mental wall/plateau today, however.  It felt good to know that I *could* push it out a little faster.

Not too much else to report about today... other than I definitely came right home and jumped in an ice bath. I'm hoping that will head off any soreness/stiffness that might've come with tomorrow... We shall see.

And with that, I bid you adieu... Gotta rest up... I'm t-handle swinging tomorrow! Yeehaw!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“Nobody ever drowned in sweat.”

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 68:

So, the original plan for today was to get up at the crack of dawn (6am for me), do my scheduled workout (It was t-handle swing day!), go try and learn something at work, come home and head to a Crossfit skills building class.

Thank god that got a bit derailed my by Insomnia and resultant inability to consistently crawl out of bed at an early hour. Why is that good? WELL, it turned out to be Kettlebell day in Crossfit land, too. Not sure two swinging workouts in one day would've been awesome. Although, whatever. haha. I'm kind of enjoying the constant challenge of seeing how far my body can go before it really hates me.

Anyway, today's class was kettlebells skill building - aimed to be part of a series to get you ready to participate in a in a full fledged CF WOD. Which meant, we did a LOT of moving around of kettlebells. How to do a good swing. How to do a better swing. An over head swing. A KB thruster. A KB clean. KB around the world's... the list goes on. We were only doing them in chunks of 10-15 at a time, for instruction purposes, but if you do it fast enough, or with a heavy enough weight, that adds up over the course of 50 minutes!
All things considered, I enjoy kettlebell workouts, though. Somehow, swinging stuff around still seems "fun" whilst proceeding to kick my ass.

Today's WOD: (I'm going to detail the class, too... this particular trainer made us do a lot more hands-on learning...)
  • 500m ski (OW. ABS.)
  • 500m row (Helloooo back.)
  • 5 min jump rope (SO glad I've been practicing. Proudly claiming the honor as the only one who went the whole 5 min without tripping. Yeeeah!)
  • 50min KB training: swings, overhead swings, squat cleans, thrusters (...and?)
  • Official WOD
    • 8 min: EMOTM (every min. on the min.)
    • 3 KB Thrusters
    • 6 KB Around the World's
    • 9 KB Overhead Swings
So, today, I got through that hour of stuff with a 22# KB. No problem, at all. It was really gratifying to do that, particularly seeing the lack of strength in many of the other beginners. Not because they are weak (hell, they are in that class, working to change themselves! That is a strong thing to do!), but it was gratifying to remind myself.. of myself. Why I'm doing this, why I continue to push hard, sweat harder (more on that in a min.), and smile through the stiff/sore days. I've come a long way, damnit... and despite having a LONG way to go, I know I won't go back. 

Now, we need to digress for just a minute, on the topic of Sweat. I may have prompted a bit of a discussion among the Spartan Chicks on the topic of sweat. Mostly because I want to know why Me and Random Cheerleader Chick (RCC) can be in the same class and a few things happen: I work faster, with heavier things, carrying significantly more weight on my body, but upon finishing the workout am back to normal breathing WAY quicker than Ms. RCC, and still good to go for more. However, *I* am drenched. Sweat Puddle (ew. I know.). I may have blinded the poor man next to me, as my pony tail flung sweat into his eyes. It might've happened. Meanwhile, RCC, who ostensibly 'worked' harder than me - as in doing the same/less work was more exhausting for her (she can't continue) - is "sparkling." I'm toweling. LOL. 
Somehow, this seems counter intuitive. However, I have a very limited knowledge base around the physiology of what's happening, and leave that to the educated ones (that's you, GT.) to answer my incessant "... but, WHY.." questions. My theory? It probably has something to do with the added muscle mass I have, the ridiculous amount of water I drink, the fact that I'm still carrying a significant amount of extra "insulation", random genetics, or some combination of the lot. 
Today's lesson: I'm a girly, ruffle-wearing, stiletto loving, martini-drinking woman... and I sweat puddles when I exercise. It may not be 'pretty', but at the end of the day, the guns/quads/ass I've got to show for those sweaty pushups/wall balls/squats/whatever, are WAY hotter than your dry brow and still-perfect ponytail. 
.... Although, I will still have to consult the great Google Oracle for why exactly that is. Hmm. I'll keep you posted.

Embrace the sweat, Ladies. Consider it a badge of a job well-done. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

“Challenges make life interesting, however, overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” ~ Mark Twain

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 67:

What an intense day today, BlogLand. Seriously, it was like one extreme to the other. The day seemed like it was going to be a sunshiney nice, relaxed Sunday... and then it went downhill.

My two rescue dogs got in a raging, bloody (literally), rip-each-other's-face-off contest... and it was a bit traumatic. I am excellent in or DURING the crisis situation - calm, doing what needs to be done - but as soon as we managed to get them separated, I walked through a puddle of blood, towing my white dog (who looked worthy of a horror movie, at that moment), while realizing I had blood all over me (including my face).... out into the front yard... held it together for t-minus 3ish minutes, to inspect his eyes, gashes and teeth..... then proceeded to shake, dry heave and be nauseous for the next 30 mins, while applying cold compresses to his face. Me and my dog, sitting on the lawn together, must've been QUITE the sight.

I was in a rough place. But, I was just coming off TWO rest days in a row (legs were feeling pretty good!), I thought that maybe the best thing would be to rally and head out on my run. Perhaps today was going to be a good day to attack my hill run. Just vent some of the emotion in that particular way. A healthy outlet, if you will.

(OH! Speaking of outlets, I just found out they're opening an Under Armor OUTLET not too far from my house in a couple weeks! EEEE!!!! I have an irrational love of that stuff.)

So, home I go, suit up, sneakers on and out into the wild I go. Get to the bottom of The Hill, pause briefly to gather some huzpah and plow forward. My tactic is a consistent, maintained pace right to the top, rather than a sprint that I'd have to quit and walk halfway there.
.... And then I had the strangest experience. As I'm running (up the hill that seems like FOREVER), I hear this random applause and stuff, and I check my music, because I'm like DAMN, do I have some weird live version of this song or something...?.. and then I look up. There is a middle-aged woman and her dog, at the top of the hill, cheering and clapping and yelling encouragement at me. Honestly, I was like, uuhmmm, WTF?!.... then (motivated to not look like a slacker) I got to the top, all panting and out of breath, and she says, "GOOD FOR YOU. I can't do that, but that is DAMN good for you, girl."... and turns and walks away, leaving me standing there feeling pretty damn positive, motivated and kind of badass, only able to be like "THANK you!!!"
Moral of the Story: Random acts of Encouragement are too few and far between, but AWESOME. DO THEM. 
Seriously, I don't think that woman had any idea how insanely much I needed that extra boost of positivity at that juncture. And really, who doesn't love their own personal cheering section. I'll tell ya, I definitely got up that hill with quite a bit more gusto than usual. So very awesome. A big Thank You, to the Cosmos for sending me Cheering Lady today. :-)

That said, here's today's Run Stats:
Time: 36.22 min.
Distance: 3.12 mi.
Average Pace: 11.61 mi/min (although iMapMyRun seems to think it's 11.40? Whatevs.)

So, as you can see, I am painfully consistent with my mile times. Real slow. BUT. Since I am currently "not worrying about speed on [my] runs," I will simply leave that be with this pearl of wisdom: No Matter How Slow You Go, You're Passing EVERYONE On The Couch.

With that, I feel pretty good today. I think my muscles definitely benefited from the two-day break. Now we dive into the deep end, as the week starts. Tomorrow is what I will now affectionately call my Death Swing workout.... which, out of necessity, is going to get done at 6am. I am not anywhere near being a morning person. We shall see how this goes. I intend to actively try not to fall-asleep mid-swing, resulting in weight-face contact. LOL.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

If you're committed to a goal, it will show up in your datebook and your checkbook.

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 66:

Rest Day, #2 Blogland... Feeling weirdly guilty about that, but at the same time, my body has been really beat up feeling, lately. So, I promise I put today to good use... I slept a long time (think I needed it!), relaxed, and - here's the awesome part - actually do *not* feel sore/stiff. Perhaps my body just needed to recoup a bit.

Having said that, I find it a bit weird that I feel like a slug, now, after 2 days in a row of not doing anything. Talk about a lifestyle change. Good stuff.

Tomorrow, is a Run Day for me... and I'm hoping for a real good run, with my rejuvenated legs. By "real good" I'm not quantifying that by mile times, or distances, but simply how my body feels. I'm thinking after 2 days off, my body should be a little more with it, and ought to bust out a solid 3+ miles tomorrow no problemo. Really, I'm just hoping to have a little more spring in my stride, and not feel like I'm running through waist-deep mud. I think that is an acceptable goal.
I intend to turn off the mileage/time notifications off tomorrow and just run. Run for the sake of running, zone out a bit and just see what happens.

I suppose I should report in on Food Log land too... Today makes a full week of tracking what I'm eating. I have a few thoughts on this:
First, YAY! ME! for doing it a whole week.
Second, I can't wait to start getting real paychecks from the new job, so I can afford 'good' food more. I miss more readily available salad.
And I desperately need some potassium laden bananas (got some today).

I will say... Food-wise, today was a rough day. Didn't eat at home at all today, and was thrust into some bad choices, food-wise. I did ponder how that would look on the Food Log. As in, I actually asked myself, in my head, "Do I want to write that on my log?". No, not really. Then, I did have the stupid thought - Well, I just won't write it on my log, and no one will know. HELLO, SELF. It still went in my mouth... just because no one 'knows' about it, doesn't mean it didn't happen. Time to be honest with myself and get my crap together - and write down everything, even if it's not great. I will just use it as motivation to do better. I did go grocery shopping today, and am SO looking forward to making some epic Pumpkin-curry soup... OM nom nom....

With that, I'm off to chew a roll of Tums (oh, the spicy buffalo jalapeno dip was so gooood) and go to bed. Tomorrow, I'm getting after it again... A good breakfast, followed by an excellent run...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

“Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Work, continuous work, and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last.” ~ Hamilton Holt

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 65:

Perhaps one of the things that I have unconsciously improved upon during this shape-up experience is body awareness. In the sense that I know what it feels like when my body is functioning at peak feels like, what fatigued but not 'done' feels like, what totally gassed feels like, ... or when something is just not right. When you spend much of your days pushing your body to new, faster, stronger, higher limits, you just sort of acquire this knowledge along the way, it seems.

Which leads me to today. Yes, I was going to be writing a fabulous blog about my first amazing buddy run. Alas, I am not doing that. My back muscles said no. Between Wednesday's swing workout and yesterday's squat-tastic Crossfit time, I'm sore. I'll admit it. But, as I say often, I exist almost pretty constantly on a gradient of sore-stiff-fatigued these days.... Usually "sore" does not keep me down, as I generally find that still working out (maybe a little gentler), often helps these things feel better and loosen up. However. My low back is still pretty stiff. My arms and shoulders are tight. The whole shebang. My body is really telling me something today, and I felt compelled to listen. This is KEY. Yes, tomorrow was my 'scheduled'  rest day... but my body actually needed it today (coupled with the fact I haven't been sleeping great this last week), so today it was.

I'm thinking I'll attempt a relaxed run tomorrow, and see how it goes... I can feel the soreness subsiding, but I think my body just really needed a good solid day of being able to put my muscles back together. LOL. I am REALLY glad I took that ice bath the other night, as my legs may be the only thing that DON'T feel stiff at the moment. Wow. Did I really say that, "I'm really glad I took that ice bath..." Oh my. Who knew? (What have you done to me, Margo?!)

In other news, I am happy to report that I'm still logging my food. I still am not particularly excited about that, but it certainly has been enlightening. Namely, I need to go grocery shopping so my log looks a little more exciting/colorful. Feeling pretty triumphant that I am still doing it... My key tactic: I made it part of the routine. Fill out the food log, training log, save the updates, bust out the blog.... just all part of the routine.

I'm off to bed now, I think. Getting ready to turn off the alarm and sleep the living daylights out of my pillow. My body needs it, my brain needs it (had a little bit of a cathartic mental crazy leak this evening... Even the best of us can't keep it together all the time!), the World needs me to have it.

Sometimes, you just have to give yourself permission to Rest.

OH and to my Spartan Chicks & Sparkles owning the course at SI this weekend... a big AROOOOO!!! May your legs be swift, your arms be powerful, and your mind a fount of iron will! Get out there and make the mud look good! :-)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

“Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.” ~ William E. Channing

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 64:

Hello. I'm Aja's raging back muscles. LOL. Let me just begin by saying that I feel pretty good about yesterday's workout, as I currently hurt like hell in places I haven't been. I'm guessing that means I found a new way to work some muscles. Allow me to describe this to you. Technically, when you do t-swings (or kettlebell swings) you are supposed to work your "posterior chain" (Technical Speak: The posterior chain is the group of muscles that runs from your lower back down behind your legs... These muscles include the lower back, the glutes, the hamstrings, and also the calves.), as well as your core muscles, and to a lesser extent, your chest/arms.
In real person, "I haven't been doing kettlebell swings" Land, what this means is that the next day, EVERYTHING hurts. Especially your lower-mid back and hips. This may not have happened if I had eased into these more, perhaps... but I have real trouble with doing things half-way, or 'easing' into anything. Thus, I went full out yesterday, and today I'm feeling it. In my biceps. Abs. Back. Legs. Yeah. Maybe we should just leave it as "I'm feeling it" today. haha.
I did anticipate this a bit yesterday, and took an ice bath and a bunch of ibuprofen... buuuuut. Ah well. Only downside, I had to sit all day in an office chair, trying to find a comfortable position for a real stiff/sore lower back (this is a next to impossible feat).

On to today's WOD. WELL, Something new... Headed back to Green Mountain Crossfit at The Confluence, for the first of my intro sessions (have to do the intro sessions, before you can do the classes!). Wasn't so sure how that was going to go with the stiff lower back, but I figured a bit of low-key movement might be a good plan.
It was a real mixed class. 8 ladies, of mixed age, ability and coordination. I must say though, our trainer of the day, Shannon (Incidentally, a Dude, who compared Inov8's with me) made it really accessible for everyone. I really like that about this particular gym, no matter who you are, what you look like, what you can do, they encourage you (in a very genuine way) toward your personal best.... instead of some giant meat head looking down at you over his overly inflated pecs.
The class (being an intro to Crossfit), began with a warmup on the SkiErg ski machine (that I LOVE), then was 50 minutes of how-to's on many of the basic moves, and practice of the techniques. It is really helpful to have eyes on you during these things - sometimes it feels like you've got it right, but having a mirror, a video, or qualified eyes on you tells you otherwise!! Anyway, some of the things we learned, re-learned and practiced:
front squats, back squats, press ups, push jerk, split jerk, box jumps (16”), butterfly sit ups.
Things I learned:

  • I HATE my tight hamstrings. While I am a strong squatter, it is a constant challenge for me. Shannon tells me he sympathizes and I must just keep stretching to get them there.
  • I apparently do not realize how not-straight my arms are when putting weight up over my head. My head does not seem to understand how to lock my elbows. LOL. Brain, could we get it together, please??
  • The weird little wedge-sort of back pad things they have to allow a greater range of motion while doing butterfly sit ups feels *awesome* on a really sore lower back. I'm not even joking about that. I was like Ahhhhh, yeaaah. 
  • AND, I can NOT preform a split jerk without thinking (to myself, luckily...) "SUPASTAR!!!!!"... Which, let me tell you, really decreases your ability to maintain good form and support weight, when you're giggling on the inside. 
After learning time, we moved into the actual WOD. A short one, just to finish out the class, get us used to the format and finish out on a good sweat. Looked like this:
  • 1min Ski (for time)
  • 1min Push jerks
  • 1min REST
  • 1min Butterfly Sit-ups
  • 1min 16" box jumps
  • 1min REST
  • 1min 14# Wall Balls
  • 1min Jump Pullups (oooo, I can feel a real Pull up coming on!)
Biggest challenge? Freakin' box jumps. Seems simple. Jump on Box, get off box, jump back on box. Repeat. Yeah. I do not find this simple. Why? Because Jumping of any sort is plyometric and is, put simply, exhausting. Two, because I find two-footed jumping a mental challenge. LOL. Why? NO idea. But I am naturally inclined to jump leading with one foot. That is not the idea here. However, I would like to observe that I was actually able to successfully two-footed jump this ENTIRE day (despite my fear of it.), which is a HUGE improvement over the last time I attempted these things (about 6 mos. ago). Woot!

And... then I came home, drank some *more* water (god, I'm sick of water.), and swallowed a bunch more Ibuprofen. 

Tomorrow, however, is my first buddy-run! Meaning, someone has actually volunteered to run with me!! I warned her... I am a slow, sweaty mess. And I mean SLOW, sweaty mess, who probably can't hold a conversation and run (although I've never tried?)... So, she has been forewarned, and STILL wanted to go. SO. Okay. I'm thinking that running with a buddy (who is a regular runner) will push me a little bit to keep moving, and take my mind off the potential difficulty of it. Also, we're going to run somewhere I've never run before... so a change of scenery! Yay! I'm psyched. 

And so, Another Day closer to Rest Day Saturday... Ahhhhh.... 

“There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.” ~ Henry Ford

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 63:

Crushed my workout today, Blogland. Oh yeah I did. RAWR. Had to make up for yesterday's mood-crash a bit. Everyone's entitled to a little bit of a rough day, I had mine, I felt the need to come back with a bit of a vengeance.

Today's workout was t-handle swings and thrusters. I've determined that I equally love and hate this workout. This workout makes me feel powerful.... but I REALLY hate it, right about the last round of thrusters, while in the down squat position, with 40 odd pounds of iron waiting (no pun intended...) to go up.
Instructions from the GT for completing this workout were to go REAL HARD and fast. Something about this workout killing me. haha. Whatevs. Not dead yet. (Just feel like it, sometimes.) More concretely, I should be aiming for 20+ swings in 20 seconds. Yikes. A "comfortable" pace for these things is about 16. Seems close to 20, right? Yeah, no. You'd be surprised how hard it is to squeeze in a few more. My abs and triceps are even feeling the burn tonight, from fighting with momentum to get that swing back down.
Anyway, today's WOD:

  • T-handle swings (20sec on/10 rest), 22#  x9 sets. (SO close, I managed 19 swings in 20 seconds! I'll get you next time!)
  • Thrusters, 21# DB's, 6 reps x 6 sets

They key to these seems to be the short (it seems minuscule!) rest time. After this workout, which is deceptively Short & Deadly (I think that's what I'm calling this one, now), I am a real sweaty, panting mess. However, it's good stuff. Blistered my hands to high heaven (even with the taped handles!)... but I suppose one must sacrifice "pretty" hands for tough ones. LOL.

Following that, I jumped in the ice bath. It felt like the thing to do, between yesterday's run and today's swinging... Let's call it a pre-emptive strike. Oh yeah, and the Ibuprofen. LOL. Sometimes, you just need to help nature along.

Sat in my ice bath and took some satisfaction in knowing that I hadn't quit, despite yesterday's discouragement. Old me might've taken a "day off"... which would've then turned into 2... then 2 weeks... and then... well, you know how it goes.
GT gave me an excellent verbal bitch-slap last night (that was much needed...). While spewing about my mile time being the same (slow.) on flat as it is on the hill runs, I was all like: "WTF is with THAT?" .... to which he very matter of factly brings me back down to earth with another simple Yoda reply: "It's nothing, because you're not worrying about speed on your runs."
Touche. I am just supposed to be focusing on time and getting the miles out. A much-needed reminder that I need to slow down, not expect myself to be perfect out of the gate, and just keep building up to the next step. The current step, however, is NOT speed, so I have decided to turn off the speed updates on my tracking app, and put it out of my head. ONE thing at a time. One can not take over the world in a single day.

Tomorrow I'm headed back to Green Mountain Crossfit for a sort of demo-class, to get rolling in the gym, so I have that option for the winter. Excited, but terrified that Tiny Hercules (She's short, is set on kicking my ass, and a riot and a half. Love her.) may try and kill me. LOL.

OH, and it appears that I have a run-buddy for Friday! I've never run with a buddy before... that ought to be a good time. Perhaps the company will keep my mind off the time/distance, and push me through this plateau? Stay tuned, for these gripping adventures....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” ~ Doug Firebaugh

Spartan Shape-up, Day 62:

Dear Blog. I am frustrated with myself today. Like, I would love to have a heavy bag to beat the crap out of right now. Grr. I know many people read blogs to be inspired and be motivated, and read shiny happy quotes... well, that's not where I'm at today. What I can tell you is that what I will tell you is real, and where I'm actually at.... AND that I still did my workout, even when it's not easy. I hope that can be a certain sort of motivation.*That* I did it, I'm reminding myself, is the important thing. However, let me tell you what's going on with me today, Blogosphere.

New job stress is killing my sleeping habits. I was (am?) tired and cranky. Came home from work, immediately sneakered up, so I didn't fall into the 'sit on a couch for a second' trap.  I will admit, I was a bit sore/stiff from yesterday's new workout, so I decided that today was a good day to test out a new - FLAT (ish) - route. The thought of facing the hill-tastic usual workout, was feeling a little bit boring, as well as not really what my legs were into today. SO, fired up the tracker and decided to brave a "city" (my city is small.) run. No plan, just run and aim to clock in somewhere over 3mi. And, - here's where my downfall began - I was thinking that I could probably improve my time a little bit, seeing that I would be on the flat and wouldn't have the hill(s) to blame for my tired legs.

Commence run. Initially feels nice to be running on the flat. Feeling like maybe my muscles are warming up and loosening up. At least that's what I was hoping. I kept plowing forth. My legs just kept feeling like weights today, though. Like I was trying to run through mud. Less than halfway through, I started having the "I want to walk" argument with myself (while still forcing myself to run slowly). I could breathe okay today, but I felt like I just didn't have the gas. Kept pushing, sweating, swearing (in my head) and gritting my teeth. Ran some loops around town. Got progressively more frustrated every time my app would notify me of my time and distance (yes, I was doing rough math in my head about what my speed was). One of them, somewhere around the 2 mi mark chimed in, just as I was slowing up to a real slow run for a 'break'... And I swear, I just wanted to stop there and cry (more on that after.). Angrily (at myself), I pushed forward and looped back around home at 3.28 mi. And I felt so... GRR. 
Here's why. 

Today's WOD:
Time: 37.22 min
Distance: 3.28 mi
Average min/mi: 11.35 

Here's why I was finding that so upsetting. I have been running this distance of at least 3 mi. (or pushing through this distance) for weeks now. And my time for - on the flat - that I was thinking was going to be faster and give my confidence a little boost, was comparable to my last run that included a long slow hill, a steep shorter hill and and overall longer distance. WTF? 

Yes. You read that right. If you read back in the blog, you will find that I ran today's nice flat run, at nearly the same pace as I ran my last run, up a bunch of hills, over a longer distance. 

This causes me to be frustrated with my body. In my head, I was thinking that surely, if I was running these damn hills all the time, when I got to the flat, we'd really see what I could do and I would have a better mile time to hold onto as a badge of accomplishment (and reassurance that I won't look like an idiot if I sign up for a 5K). This was apparently not the case. I could try to blame this on yesterday's workout, but I am almost always running the day after some sort of weight/strength workout that involves some sort of Squats of Death. Instead, my head just pretty much got overwhelmed with annoyance that my body seems to be lagging behind in progression. I'm doing the work, but where is the progress?! 

*deep breath*

So, I ate dinner, tried to chill a little bit and regroup. Sometimes I need to stop and remind myself that I'm still building the pieces of the puzzle. It's not going to happen overnight. I WANT it to, but physiologically, that's not possible. I can see that my leg muscles are building up, I can see that my breathing is 100 million times better than when I started (I don't feel like I'm hyperventilating! yes!), I can see the consistency... Now, I just need to remind myself that there may be other things (like losing the weight I need to lose, or just putting in the time for conditioning), that may need to happen first. My brain's schedule is not my body's schedule. 

Anyway, that's that. I'm okay. I'm excited to challenge myself at tomorrow's workout (GT says I must aim for more swings in 20 sec.... hmm...), and I'm still on track. However, if you want to hear it like it really is, then you should know that my positivity train definitely derails sometimes. This journey is not without its pot holes, flat tires and mountains to climb. But sometimes, the greatest feat (for me) is just starting fresh the next day, despite it all. I can do this. I will do this, even if it takes me forever. 

... but I'm still annoyed at today's lousy mile time.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 61:

I am pretty sure my quads, abs and possibly my hamstrings, may be a WEEE bit stiff tomorrow. Allow me to elaborate.

So, today was new workout day. I was pretty stoked to mix it up today and try out one that I had never done. It was supposed to be t-handle (like a kettlebell) swings (20 seconds swing, 10 seconds rest; 5 sets) and then Thrusters (like I have been doing). While driving home from the new job (Yay!), I do the math in my head and think to myself, "hmm... the swing portion will be like under 3 minutes. Total workout time will be like 20 mins. Can that be right?" So, I text the all-knowing GT. He simply asks me if I've done it yet. I say, "Noo....?" and then he just tells me to try it. And if 5 isn't enough sets of swings, do some more.  HMM. Okay, I think to my overly-confident self. No problemo. I can follow directions.
So, off I go to workout.

Today's WOD:
T-handle swings: 22#, 8 sets (20 sec. swing, 10 rest)
Thrusters: 21#DBs, 6 reps, 5 sets. 

Well, so, I start swinging - minding my form and focusing on the muscles I'm supposed to be working, etc. sets 1-4 weren't too bad, set 5 I broke a sweat, and set 7 and 8 were where I suddenly went... Oh HELLO quads. Hmm. After set 8, I felt that I had gone past the necessary requirement enough to test this maneuver out, and better move onto the Thrusters of Death (seriously, these are my arch nemesis. Or at least, they're in a competition with Split Squats for that title). Thus, I begin a couple of sets of Thrusters, suddenly realize how much swinging has been using my legs. Let me tell you, doing that swinging, then squatting low with 42 pounds on your shoulders and convincing your legs that they are going to "explode" up, is a reeeeaaaally hard sell.  Nonetheless, I got it done, 5 sets of 6.

And now I sit here, reminding myself to drink my damn water (WHY is hydration SO hard?), stop opening my big mouth (yes, 25 minutes was pretty good, today!), and thinking some stretching may be in order....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

: Dear Bulgarian Split Squat: You hurt me deeply... and yet I love you. Call me again Thursday, you bastard."

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 60:

It was Run Day today... and a beautiful early fall evening to do it in. I will say that it is the LAST time I take new route suggestions from a non-runner friend... Nothing like running on a long, slow, uphill for a mile. LOL. It definitely doesn't look quite that evil in the car. haha.
That said, it was an okay run today. Nothing spectacular, but not awful. I did my longest distance yet, albeit a bit on the slow side. I'm trying to deny that I'm coming down with a little cold... but after today's run, I'm thinking that it's not just the allergies I was thinking it was. BLEH. However, I got it done, got the miles on my sneakers.
Apparently the GT checked in my live-run, somewhere around a mile and a half (after two really evil hills), and text me some words of encouragement: "Run like a bear is chasing you!" to which I replied  , "allergies... can't... breathe...." and in his all knowing GT-ness wisdom, he simply replies, "Bears don't care."  After thinking about this for a second, he does have a point there. LOL. So, I picked up the pace a little bit, tried to embrace my heaving lungs and screaming calves (eff you, hill runs.), and looked forward at the next 2 miles.

Stats for today's run:
Time: 43.36 min
Distance: 3.73mi
Pace: 11.62 min/mi. (although, iMapMyRun says 11.40? hmm.)

Again, a slow day it would seem, but a baby-step forward in mileage. I think these hills are really killing me. Perhaps I shall try to find a slightly flatter run, to test out my legs on a more even playing field? I really feel like I could get it under an 11min mile, if I didn't have to run up so many damn hills. GRR.

In other news, I'm working on seeking out/registering for my first 5K race. It is on my list of goals, and there's no reason that I should wait. SO. Working out the details... slightly terrified, but pushing that down and charging forward...

Alright. I'm tired tonight, starting a new job tomorrow (Yikes!) and probably should rest, to prevent this cold from getting me....

Oh, and just because it's hurting and I'm feeling whiny... this is my injured tiny toe, who is REAL angry after going for a run:
Apparently, we're *not* broken... just REAL unhappy...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Everything changes when you change." - Jim Rohn

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 59:

REST DAY! Who doesn't love a good rest day, here and there... knowing you've *earned* it. Waha.

However, I DO have some news and thoughts for today (geesh. Don't I always?).

Today was a momentous occasion. Whilst driving along the Wild Ammonoosuc River, home from the New Hampshire Highland Games (LOVE the Heavy Athletics!), I felt moved to pull over, as there were TONS of happy little stones that just looked like they wanted to come home with me. My friend Holly (who is not a subscriber herself, but supportive of my ridiculousness), helped me make some difficult choices ("but this one's PRETTY... and hard to hold. Damn.") and arrive at a winner:
My Rock, being rescued from it's recently-flooded
habitat, in the Wild Ammonoosuc River.
I am now the proud caretaker of a handily shaped - seriously, it's got perfect hand/shoulder grooves - 17.5 pound Rock of my very own. I even threw it around the river bank a bit to see how it held up and/or flew. I got a beep from a passing car. NOT sure what that means, but I'm choosing to take it as a sign that my new rock is awesome and they were jealous.  Incidentally, I also took viewing this picture as a sign that, holy crap, I need new jeans that fit. Just because they are comfortable, when they are 2 sizes too big (thank you, Running!), you must let go. Those have got to go (saggy-ass is never a good look.).

So, in conversing with my GT yesterday, I have my new, updated workout plans for these next four weeks (9-12). I'll be continuing on my running plan (distances, at this point still, not speed), and body weight workout days, but will be incorporating a couple days of swings (with my newly-crafted T-handle... which I've already decided needs some edits. Grr.). I'm pretty excited to try something new, and challenge myself in a different way. I don't have a ton of experience with swing-related workouts, soooooo we shall see. Seems easy, right?? (famous last words.)

In addition, the GT issued the ultimate challenge: Write down what I eat, daily. Not count calories or anything, just write down what I'm eating. My knee-jerk reaction was the desire to have a temper tantrum like a 3 year old. However, I would like to note that I held it together and behaved like an adult, merely warning him that this is a historically giant mental mountain for me. But, we seem to be in the mountain-moving business these days...
You see, friends, I have done Weight Watchers several times in my life (the last time with 40+ pounds of success), of which the cornerstone is TRACKING what you eat. Being mindful of what you put in your body. I get this. I do. It makes sense. And hey, I can even truthfully say that whenever I actually tracked what I was eating, I lost weight. But, each time, I gradually fell off the Tracking Bandwagon, because it is an annoying pain in the butt, and I hated doing it.

HOWEVER. I will say, that does seem like the me of a Lifetime ago. There are a lot of things that that person had trouble sticking with - not the least of which was a solid exercise program. I feel like I've turned a new leaf in the last year, though, held onto my ultimate motivation and CAN do this now. I did not say I will enjoy it, but I AM committing to doing it. Starting today. Immediately after finishing this post, I'm off to log my food.

Why bother logging my food? Well, because I know that has value. I know that you can't work out like a crazy person (... or a Spartan...), and fuel yourself with crap. Your body needs things, and you must make sure it gets them. And, if you're trying to lose weight (...I've got a significant amount more to lose.), you HAVE to be aware of what's going in your mouth. While you may think you eat healthy (which I generally do, for the past year or so), it may not be in the right proportions, or quantities for you. Which, clearly, mine are not, as I seem to be plateauing in my weight-loss of late, despite noticing the fact that I'm toning up steadily. AND, I can't ignore the fact that I've been craving protein like mad (Hello there, new muscles?). Clearly, something is out of balance and needs to be addressed.

So, my blog-peeps... I'm tracking. I won't tell you I want to. I don't. I *will* tell you that I'm going to, because I understand the value and need for it. It's no different than doing burpees, right? No one enjoys that... but it's just got to get done.

Until tomorrow, all... where I tell you whether the toe that I just jammed in the doorway is really broken, or just feels like it, and how that effects Run Day.... da da DA... (Oh, the suspense. I Know.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Told you I was Martha Stewart...

It's Arts and Crafts Time, Spartan-Style!

Yes, friends. I am that cool. I made my own T-handle for swings, right out of my own hardware store (Materials: about $20). The instructions I followed are HERE, in case you're interested.

Let me just tell you, when you wander into a hardware store (inadvertently wearing pink, and probably the most ridiculously trendy sunglasses I own), toting a list of materials as scattered as that... WELL, let me tell you, they look at you a little weird.
Not to be deterred, I grabbed a poor high school boy who looked semi-intelligent and enlisted his help. He asked no questions. LOL.

And now, I'm the proud owner of my own, super cool swinging apparatus, As Yet To Be Named.... and living in fear of what the GT is going to tell me to do with it.

Until Next Time,
Yours in all things badass crafty....

"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are." -Bernice Johnson Reagon

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 58:

WHEW. The last 24 hours were intense. No sooner did I finish that blog post about not being a natural athlete, but doing it anyway, and finding your support system, when I was forced to put it to the test. I'll spare you the gorey details, but in a nutshell, I had part of my family corner me and lecture me on this new "extreme" workout stuff, and the "unrealistic" goals that I have, etc. It is immensely difficult to hear that from your family. Just because I have spent too much time being a couch potato, doesn't mean it always will be that way. I feel like I'm really finding myself now - and am amazing myself daily with the things I am growing able to do - and I wish they could embrace that with me. Maybe eventually they will, but until then, I've got to just do what I do, for me. That said, upon leaving the lecture, I got in my car, had a bit of a cry (because c'mon, I'm still a girl and that crap is hard to hear), and reached out to the people that I know would help. After a reassuring conversation with my GT (who has saintly patience with the mental/emotional side of all this for me), the most powerful thing came out of that.
Me: (recanting a sentiment that seem to be prominent from the family) Yes, but these activities are for other people. You know, "athletic" people.
GT: Well, that's you now.

I know that seems like a ridiculously simple thing, to many of you. But spent a lot of your life being some gradient of out of shape/chunky/heavy, and while I was 'active' at points in my life, never would I have been considered "athletic". Spend your life that way, then try (after 30 years) to see yourself in an entirely different light - despite what people close to you are saying. THAT can be a monumental challenge. However, to have someone that knows you well, that you trust, say matter of factly, that that *IS* me now is like turning on a light switch. Yeah, I guess maybe it is. Holy shit.
AND, not for nothing, but I made a comment to my Spartan Chicks, and was overwhelmed at the support-rally that I was showered with. Lesson learned: When the people in your life don't understand, or can't support you - adopt the ones that will.
A big cyberspace thank you, to my GT and the Chicks for helping me scale that particular mountain... Hopefully it's all downhill from here (or, more appropriately, uphill with a rock? lol).

ANYWAY, on to the WOD.

I was all excited because it was cold this morning, and it was going to be Run Day... and then I looked at my schedule... it's actually the dreaded Bodyweight workout day. Feeling rejuvenated, energized and just damn proud of myself for sticking to this, I decided to bust out a really solid workout today:

  • w/u 300 turns jump rope
  • Squats x 100 
  • Pushups x 70 PLUS 10 full out on my toes, not knees! 
  • Chair Dips x60 (legs out, no cheating!)
  • Calf Raises x80
  • Lunges x60
  • Scissor kicks x110
  • Ball Crunches x90
  • BURPEES x 15 (15 solid, good form ones, damnit.)
So. There we have it. A good solid, sweaty day. I may feel those squats tomorrow. LOL. I must note, a few more improvements, though: I managed 10 whole pushups on my toes - not the girly knee way. YEAH. I had a moment where I wasn't sure I was going to get back up, lol, but dug deep. ALSO, in my quest to master the Burpee of Death, I did 15. Sounds low, but considering 2 of those were really difficult for me at the beginning, I'm happy. Plus, they were 15 complete burpees - pushup, jump up, the whole bit. 

In summary, emotional mountain surmounted (for now. lol), channeled into an awesome workout, and now I must go to the hardware store for supplies........... WAhahaha.... 

Oh, and note to self: Drink more water. Geesh.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I am not a natural born athlete, but I disregard that handicap I perform as best as I can…that’s, I guess, what makes me an athlete." ~ Katy McCabe

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 57:

Today is officially the first day of Week 9 of my Spartan Shape-Up training. Yikes. Time flies when you're running all over your neighborhood and lifting heavy stuff.

Before I go into today's regularly scheduled programming, I have to share something written by Spartan Race's own Glamazon, Katy McCabe:
  "I’m not a natural born athlete.  I was born to be heavy, I was born to be slow, I was born to procrastinate, and I was born to under achieve or get by on the bare minimum.  I know that.  I have been in my head and I have seen my own habits and bore witness to my own methods.  I am not a natural born athlete.  Everything I do is hard for me.  Every time I run I’m taxed.  Every time I swing a kettle-bell, power clean 155#, walk up walls, pull up, push down, jump over…it’s difficult and I want to stop.  I am not a natural born athlete.  I beat myself mentally before I start.  I think of ways to give up mid stride.  I don’t see progression.  I have to practice.  I have to fail…a LOT.  I have to do things over and over and over and over.  I have to drag myself sometimes…most times.  I get angry with myself multiple times in every workout.   I am not a natural born athlete.  I know I have limits I face them daily.  I know that when I get home today and strap on my pack that it’s going to hurt and its going to wear on me and I will struggle up hills and over rocks.  I am not a natural born athlete.  I am not particularly good at anything but I do all of these things despite how familiar I am with just that fact.  I am not a natural born athlete, but I disregard that handicap I perform as best as I can…that’s, I guess, what makes me an athlete." ~ Katy McCabe

When I ran across this in my internet traversing today, I suddenly felt a flash of hope, as I identified with Katy's thoughts. These were things I feel all the time, as I eek out the extra half mile in my run, or try and push through that extra set of lifts, these were the same thoughts I've had. Which was amazingly inspirational. Because, hey, maybe that means I'm 'normal' and not just some fat chick with ridiculously big pipe dreams. If Katy (who, I'm sure, can leap tall building with a single bound) questions herself, gets angry at herself, too, then maybe - just maybe - it's all just part of the journey. (Thanks, Katy.)

Having said that, we're onto today's WOD - It's a lifting day! Today's complex went like this:

  • w/u - Jump rope, 5min (5 du's without dying! yeah! lol)
  • Bent Row x6
  • Upright Row x6
  • Military Press x6
  • Good Mornings x6
  • Split Squats L/R x6
  • Thrusters x6
  • Deadlifts x6
I got 5 rounds of that, with two 21# DB's. 
Admittedly, this is the complex (the dreaded Complex #4, on my list, da da DAAaaaa) that I tend to want to avoid. Why? Because it's hard for me. Or, really, it's not that it's hard for me, but it challenges me to push more than I naturally want to. Military presses with 21 pound DB's are hard, at the moment. Doable, but not easily.They are easier than they were a couple of weeks ago, though, I noticed today, but they're hard (particularly for my slightly slower to learn left arm? wtf? lol). Split Squats, with 42 pounds, followed immediately by thrusters with total 42 pounds, are a challenge to not want to take a break in between. HOWEVER. This is why we do these things, is it not? Because they're hard. So we do them until they get easier, and then we set our sights on the next hard thing, to see what we're made of. So here's what I have to say to you, Split Squats followed by Thrusters of Death: I OWNED you today. 5 rounds. TKO. 

Oh! In other news (how could I forget!), I must report in on my very first ice bath. I wish I had STFU and done that sooner. This was the first morning in probably the last 3 months that I hopped out of bed and didn't hobble around all creaky and stiff. I will say, that lowering yourself (thank GOD I've been practicing my dips, to facilitate a slooooow immersion) into a vat of really cold water is NOT an enjoyable process, once you get past the first few minutes and just go numb, it's really not that bad. You probably don't want to sit there unoccupied (tweet or fb yourself silly, or read a book, or SOMEthing) and focus on how damn cold you are, but it really isn't that bad. Take it from a skeptic. You can do this, and you probably should. You can do anything for 20 minutes, right?? Particularly the persistently stiff muscles in my hip area (maybe adductors?) from running and squatting were really relieved by this. 

Alright, Blog-Land. I bid you adieu for another day, while I wait in slight trepidation for the next block of 4 week plans from the GT (We decided Guru Trainer was probably slightly more grammatically correct than Trainer Guru... lol.). He mentioned things like making a DIY T-handle to do swings with, and that it was time to find and bond with my pet rock. Oh My. It's on like Donkey Kong! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

“It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” ~ Henry Ford

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 56:

A beautiful (if slightly warm) day for a run, today! Although, I must say, my allergies seem to have different designs. It was a bit like breathing through a straw. A big straw, but a straw nonetheless. I felt like I was getting just a smidge under the amount of air in that I actually wanted. Not enough to seriously impact my run, but just enough that I didn't quite have the get up and go that I had on my last run. It also probably didn't help that I was a bit stiff from yesterday's squats and thrusters.

I think I'm really going to need to get on board with these ice baths. Spartan Chick's Margo the Great tells me I will love them. And quite frankly, if they aid in not having the fatigue feeling (thus impacting the next workout/run), then I can sit in a tub of ice, as necessary.

Tried something a little different with the run today, too. I was testing out the iMapMyRun app/website, as recommended by my TG. I've historically been using Runkeeper, which is pretty awesome and I would recommend to anyone, but iMapMyRun seems to have some interesting different/more features to utilize - including Live Runs. As in, yes, you can literally watch me run in real-time. Now, when my TG (who is not local to me) suggested this, I thought, "oh sure, that'll be cool!"... Which, it did turn out to be, but in a much different way than I thought. It went something like this:
Tie sneakers, turn on music, head out door. Start up the app, start the workout - which automatically Tweets a link so that anyone I've deemed a 'friend' can follow me live. Begin running. Run uphill (DAMN you uphill start.). Feeling slow today, curse allergies. Get about a mile into the run, scale back my pace a little to try to regulate my breathing around my allergy stuff, and receive a text from TG, simply saying "Run run run!"
... It suddenly dawns on me: They're WATCHING. (Who "They" are, is anyone's guess, but my TG was apparently at least checking in.). Now, did "they" stay to watch me slowly run 40 minutes, probably not. But I have to say, the thought that -at any moment- SOMEone might be looking at my pace, etc. was *incredibly* motivating.

Anyway, Stats for today's run:

Time: 39.5 min.
Distance: 3.45 mi.
Ave. Pace: 11.45 min./mi.

Definitely not my 'best' run today, as I felt less consistent - more up and down in my speed than usual. However, I would like to note (and pat myself on the back) that I *DID* accomplish today's goal of adding more mileage - about 1/3 of a mile more than my last run, and just under 1/2 mi. more than my average run. SO, take that allergies. Slow run, but still kept at it.

Another milestone today, too: Today was officially the end of 8 weeks of Spartan Shape-Up training. 8 weeks solid that I've stuck to 6 workouts a week, changed my mindset, found some new goals and am chasing down the person I want to be (albeit slowly at an 11.45 min/ mile...).

Bring on week 9!! I would also like to note, Dear Readers, if I can do this, anyone can.  Really. You just need to find your fire within (as cliche as that sounds). In January 2010 I was 70 pounds heavier, ragingly out of shape and limiting myself because of what I physically could and could not do.
Today, I'm steadily moving towards a more ideal weight, have muscles that show (some places more than others, lol), and refuse to accept any limits on what I can and can not do. I may say I can't do that YET, but not that I can't.
Key components in making that transition: Figure out WHY you want do to it. If it's for someone else, you're not going to stick with it. If it's for you - your health, to feel better, your self confidence, whatever it is - you'll do it. Find that tiny nugget of desire to change, and hold onto it for dear life.
Second, seek out your support system. You'll need one. Know that it's okay to ask for help. And it may not be the people that are currently in your life. Accept that. Love them, but find the people that will get behind you on your quest to be a better version of you. There are mornings that I definitely don't want to roll out of bed, put my sneakers on and run, or lift stuff, or whatever it is.... But I know that my TG, the Spartan Chicks and a handful of other people have my back, want me to succeed and will help me do that. That makes it infinitely easier.
Third. Set Goals. Big goals AND little goals. You need something to set your sites on and run (metaphorically) towards. And yes, it can be something as simple as "I want to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing." (don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about!). As for me - That Spartan Race I'm counting down to is my Big Goal. But in the meantime, I'm chasing down the little ones - being able to do a pullup, run a 5K, successfully bust out 30 solid burpees in a row (yeeah... that might be more of a "big goal" than anticipated), or run just a little longer, or a little further... Chase them down and beat your goals into submission.

That said, I'm getting off my soapbox. Mostly because I can feel my quads stiffening up to Evil. It's going to be Ice Bath day. We'll see how this goes. There is something inherently wrong about submerging oneself voluntarily in really cold water... but if it's going to help me along, freshen my legs for tomorrow, Count me in.

What goal are you chasing down today?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wise Words!

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you're a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds. - Henry Rollins

Spartan Shape-up, Day 55:

The thing I like about weight lifting is, even when the Cosmos are working against you (like me, today), or you're stressed because things are out of your hands.... a 20 pound dumbbell is reliably a 20 pound dumb bell. You can push it, sweat out the life craziness, and feel better at the end of it. Nothing subjective about it.

It was nice that today was Lifting day. I was frustrated with multiple things going on, but once you pick up the DB's, there is nothing else to be done except push, breathe, sweat, repeat. I like it. Gives me something really tangible to accomplish and finish.

Thus, today's WOD looked like this:

  • Arnold press x6
  • Deadlift x6
  • Bent Row x6
  • Squat x6
  • Upright Row x6
  • Hang Snatch x6 (both arms together)
  • Thruster x6
  • Bent Row x6
  • Hang Snatch x6 (alternating arms)
Four rounds, with two 21lb. DB's. Having said that, I'm thinking that next time I'm going to have to pick up the weight a little bit. Or maybe do another round. I'm thinking that the weight is the solution, though. Working on building muscle, rather than just working on the endurance. Hmm. Note to self: Consult with TG and see where to go next. It might be as simple as just cutting down the time between rounds. I'm at like 60-90 seconds at the moment, but I'm recovering pretty quickly. SO, it may be that I only get 30 seconds between rounds, and push it a little harder. 
Oh the dilemmas!!! LOL. 

I have to take a moment to reflect on a thought I've been marinating on. Along with becoming fitter, losing weight (down -1.5 this week!), and embracing myself and my new abilities, there is a distinct amount of not giving a damn about whatever other people think. Particularly when you're really dedicated to what you're doing. Yes, I work out in some form 6 days a week. YES, I like lifting really heavy stuff. YES, I am training to compete in an extreme obstacle race........ why does that make me an oddity, or the recipient of dubious looks, or the subject of all sorts of questions about why I have to go so extreme. Seriously? Because I'm enjoying it. Yes, I'm on the lookout for a sandbag to run with, eventually. Or a big rock. And I can't even imagine the looks I'm going to receive. But, you know what..... I don't care. I think I have finally gotten to that point. I have embraced the challenge of disregarding the people. Which, some days, may be more challenging than adding that extra mile, or doing that extra set... but it may be the most important. 

I am really looking forward to being able to join the Crossfit gym in the area... there are a lot of similarly minded people there. As a really social person, it has been difficult for me to be "alone" for all my workouts, all the time, because I don't have any friends that have ponied up to the challenge. I'm working on breaking them into it... BUT, not too much success, at this moment. 

On a more physical note, I'm definitely thinking an Ice bath is in my near future. My quads, after doing weighted squats and thrusters today, are definitely feeling it. RAWR. Other than that, though, I feel good. No pain in my ankles or knees for the last year, nothing. AWESOME. 

And with that, I'll see you tomorrow - Run Day! I'm aiming to push out the distance a bit.... *gulp*

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 54:

Well, folks, I don't know if it was the 3 day break from training, or the fact that my 'evening' run turned into a 'dark' run, or what... but DAMN if I wasn't on fire today. I believe that deserves a big, damn enthusiastic "AROO!" in true Spartan style.

I was a little apprehensive about heading out this evening, as I hadn't really done anything 'healthy' in 3 days (After a weekend of a fabulous wedding, I was sure I was fueled on cake, and sweating beer.). Added to which, I had a little bit of a calf cramp (from not paying attention to getting my potassium/electrolytes), and have been struggling the last few runs. It felt like my body was plateauing, straight into a solid brick wall, the last 2-3 runs.

HOWEVER. I am happy to report that I was a complete BEAST tonight. I kept finding myself running at a good clip, and having to remind myself to pace myself a bit, so that I'd have enough gas to get to the end of my run... only, I never seemed to need to make that push. I ran at a steady good clip, stopped to walk only briefly to tie my shoe, and felt *strong*. Like, I was breathing well, my muscles didn't feel crampy or tight, or anything like that, nothing was burning, the stars had aligned, and I was running.




Yep. You read that right. I actually was having a good time. While that could partially be attributed to the fact that I didn't feel like I was struggling every single step, it could also be because I think I finally got it. THIS is what it feels like when you can just truck along, and get the job done, and not feel like you're dying, or struggling, or whatever. I think my body actually got with the program. As anyone that knows me (or has been following this blog...) knows, I have not historically enjoyed running. I have been trying to learn to appreciate it, for the sake of my training, but I have not, to this point enjoyed it in and of itself.
Again, I think this is where I pause and note that my TG was completely right. As usual. (God, I hate admitting that. lol.) While I've always maintained that I enjoyed lifting heavy stuff, would prefer to label myself more along the lines of a strength athlete, he told me I had to run. And that I'd like it, eventually, if I just gave it a fair shake. TG: 252, Aja: 0

Anyway, here's today's Run:

Time: 35 min.
Distance: 3.15 mi.
Average min/mi: 11.11

Another thing that made me pretty excited about this run, was that I totally could've kept going. I was actually going faster toward the end of my run, than at the beginning (gotta love Runkeeper for keeping tabs of that stuff!). Unfortunately, not anticipated my body suddenly morphing into a running machine, I had looped back around to my doorstep, and it was dark. SO, I thought it probably smart to call it a day. But I totally could've kept going. AND, I even started my run the same way that I have been struggling with - straight up the hills.

EEE! Yep. Excited about this today. Maybe I've finally broken through a fitness plateau! Perhaps this is the reward for just sticking out the difficult times....? Anyway, that was definitely the WOD I needed to re-energize me.

Incidentally, I think that also means that I ran a 5K tonight, in a respectable time. Not too shabby for someone who had never run a solid mile in her life, 8 weeks ago.

Back At It!!!

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 52 & 53:

Well, The weekend just got a little out of hand. The wedding took over the World, was awesome, everything was perfect... but there was definitely no workout in sight. Unless, of course, you count marching around on giant heels, or running back and forth to the bar... ;-)

THAT said, that will make 3 days in a row without a workout. Yikes. That feels weird. The fact that that feels weird, feels weird. haha... Yet another marker on the transformation toward new-me. HOWever. Today is Spartan Shape-up: Day 54. I have brought everyone back to the airport, made all the rounds, and now, it's back to the craziness. SO, I'm thinking a lovely after dinner run tonight, to get back into the swing of things, stretch out the calves and get back on track, is in order. Ahhhh.

Incidentally, I think I found a treasure... There are all these orange sand-bags around town, left over from the flooding, etc. in the area... They seem to be lonely and abandoned... I'm thinking of maybe acquiring one for my training purposes. No one loves them right now, and I'm suuuuure I could give one of those cute little things (lol) a new home....... Stay Tuned!

In short: I'm not dead. I'm rehydrating. I'm running tonight. Blog later!

Friday, September 9, 2011

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 51:

AH! It's wedding weekend here, in Shape-Up land... Which, poses some issues. Like namely, there is zero time for a workout today (as far as I can see at the moment). I thought I had gotten up early enough to get in some push ups, etc. But alas, it is not to be. Or tomorrow.

HOWEVER. I'm thinking my body might be okay with two rest days in a row (and god knows I'll be running around like a crazy), and then it's back to it on Sunday (run day!).  And hey, who knows, maybe I can rope my fellow troop of bridesmaids into some squats and dips before the wedding? LOL

Anyway. One must make peace with the fact that sometimes, things can not be helped. This is my life, this is a lifestyle change, and it is most important to recognize that I am in fact *regretting* the fact that I can't workout today, rather than rejoicing. If that isn't an attitude shift, I don't know what is. :-)

Win the battles, to win the war!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's not how good you are...

Something to keep in mind, when challenge feels too big...

"What keeps me going is goals." - Mahammed Ali

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 50:

Run Day, today. A beautiful almost-fall morning to head out... like, I was actually a little bit cold during my warm-up walk. YAY! I would sooner be cold, than dripping hot, just standing there, any day.

Almost two months into my official Spartan training, and I am recognizing how far I've come. Mostly because I need to put things in perspective. As a real competitive sort, I constantly look at other people and get frustrated when I can't do that, or haven't done that yet, etc. (which is frequent when you belong to a community of awesome chicks that routinely run 10-12 miles as a warm up... up a mountain.) HOWEVER. Again, I need to recognize that 2 months ago, I couldn't do half of what I'm doing now. Just imagine where I'll be in another 300+ days.

That said, today's run was:

Distance: 2.95mi (where did that other .05mi go? Didn't I clock this route?? geesh.)
Time: 33 min.
Pace: 11.19 min/mi. 

Again, I conquered the big hill right in the first 1/2 mile of my run. AROO. Actually felt good running up that big hill to start... Although it really makes the rest of my run difficult, I've come to conclude. Seems like such a small change, but apparently, it's not... Or at least that's what My Legs say at about mile 2ish. And, incidentally, I just came home and read an article about how it's better to incorporate hills into the middle-end of your run, for just that reason - the lactic acid isn't present so soon in your run, to kill your legs for the rest of it. Ahhhh. Makes sense. However, this is where I remind everyone that I live in VT, and hills aren't really an "option" that I add into my run when I want. They are just a by-product of the terrain. If you want to run from here to there, particularly if you're looking for a route more than 2 miles, you're going to run a hill. And probably a substantial one. LOL. So, in true spartan style (as I recall, don't most the races seem to start with a nice long run uphill? haha), I put my head down, put some angry music on, and plow up the hill. .........And then stop at the top for 15 seconds to convince myself my lungs aren't going to explode...

Anyway. Today's the day that I definitely feel like I could've happily tried out the inaugural ice-bath. However, there's just not time. *sigh* I'm in a wedding this weekend, and picking up people from the air port and running last minute errands, etc. So, I squeezed in my run (go me! no excuses!), but stopping 20 minutes to soak in the ice bath doesn't seem like it's going to be in the cards. It's weird that I'm sad about that....

Alright, my legs are real happy that today is over, because today's run (like the last few runs) was feeling really hard. However, when I look at my times/averages, maybe I just need to get in a different head-space during my runs, because I'm not doing all that badly. Geesh. Positive self-talk, self!

On that note, I'm off... tomorrow is the dreaded Bodyweight workout day.... *gulp*... Squats and pushups and dips, Oh MY!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 49:

It's Lifting Day, here in shape-up land! Despite the pretty impressive blisters/calloused blisters I'm now permanently sporting on my hands from lifting, I banged out a solid workout today. I was feeling pretty inspired and pumped up, from reading the Spartan Chicks FB page this morning. There is nothing like 700 equally badass ladies, virtually behind you on your journey, to keep you motivated.

... even when you're sore as hell. LOL.  My TG suggested yesterday that I might want to ice bath (this was following a particularly ugly run), but I laughed and was like, oh HELL no, I do not need to submerge my nether-regions in ice to recover. I will be JUST FINE.
As it turns out, as usual, TG was right... probably an ice bath would've been awesome. After soliciting some opinions/thoughts on the Chicks message board, it seems that ice baths might really be beneficial every now and then, and something definitely to work into. Apparently, the consensus is that I need to just suck it up, get three bags of ice, sit in them, and then Skype with a bunch of them (doing the same thing!) for 20 minutes to get through it. LOL. If that's not support, I don't know what is!

Anyway, onto today's WOD:

  • 5 Min. Jump roping... Including *drumroll* THREE whole Double Unders, without falling on my face. LOL. 

 Dumb bell complex; 21# dumbbells, 4 rounds of:

  • Bicep Curls x6 (varying hammer curls, concentration curls, etc.)
  • Upright Rows x6
  • Bent Rows x6
  • Hang Snatch x6
  • Shoulder Presses x6
  • Thrusters x6
  • Upright Rows x6
  • Curls x6 (again, assorted variants)
It went pretty well. My shoulders are burning - but that's the idea, isn't it? Those thrusters (which are a squat-move), tried to kill me, particularly after yesterday's run... however, I finished them strong.  Not sure I could've gotten through another set, but we can work up to that!

I'm off to grab some lunch, take a shower (seriously, a shower after a workout is the best part of the day... ahhhhh), and get some chores done!

Feeling really good, positive and supported today. Anything's possible, if you decide it is!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

By the way, I still run like a whale-human hybrid! - MScan

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 48:

Well, today was a little bit up and down... literally and mentally.

The goal I'm chasing (now that I've gotten up to running 30 minutes straight) is to increase the mileage (rather than worry about getting faster at my miles). In order to increase the mileage on the route that I've been running, I ran uphill for the first quarter mile of my run. Thanks to living in the beautiful Green Mountain State of Vermont, finding relatively flat runs is nearly impossible. But, I try and look at that as a benefit - I get hill training intervals by default, where other athletes have to schedule them in and seek them out.

What's a quarter of a mile, you say? That's like nothing! Right? 400m! No problemo. Yeah, well, I got up the hill just fine, but then was pretty sure I was going to die for the next 10 minutes of my run. Like, I felt like I was back 6 weeks ago, with the way that I was struggling. I felt so discouraged, like I couldn't quite breath right, I didn't have the oomph in my legs... I just couldn't get in the groove. Then, after those first ten minutes, it still didn't get in the track that I usually am able to get in. Like, this is a run that I run all the time (with the exclusion of The Hill), and I run the 30 minutes, and I'm good to go until like the last few minutes where I have to start pushing myself. Not today. Today, I was pushing myself all the way through. Hard. I wanted to walk. Badly. I didn't (proud of self for that), but had to scale back to a real slow jog a few times, to compensate. Just was an inordinately hard go-round today.

I got back from my run (and since we're about honesty here in this blog), I was so frustrated I wanted to cry. While this training has been hard, I have been consistently maintaining a level or progressing forward (running a minute longer, lifting a few more pounds, etc.), and this was the first time that I felt like I had slipped backwards. Like, I couldn't tell you why - I've had my rest days, I've eaten well, gotten the water in, etc. - but it was just brutal. Maybe more so than in the first few weeks of my running, because now I *expected* that I should be able to go a certain length of time at a certain energy level. And I couldn't.

BUT. For what it's worth, I did extend my run today and here's how it went:
Distance: 3.0 mi (on the dot!)
Time: 31.5 minutes
Pace: 10.5 min/mi. 
That was a little surprising for me to figure out, as my typical pace is slower than that... so, maybe I was wearing myself out a little bit. Who knows. No excuses... just is what it is. As my most wonderful Trainer Guru (TG) said, in reaction to my frustration:
TG: Some days are like that. It happens. Rest, eat well, ice bath. :-)
Having someone back you like that is invaluable. The reminder that it's not a big deal, that a bad day is okay once in a while, etc. is extremely important.

AND... I came across MScan's blog (from Spartan Race), with an excellent quote that got me laughing, and reminded me that we're all human - even the veterans have a bad day - it's not just me. She notes on her blog: "By the way, I still run like a whale-human hybrid!" LOL. That is exactly what I was feeling like today, and I don't have anywhere near the experience that she has. That was an excellent pick-me-up.

SO... I got home from my epic awful run and rallied a bit, so I could get my Lifting piece out of the way ('cuz I missed it yesterday... oops.). Took it down a round, as I will have to lift hard tomorrow, and I had already run today... but still got the job done, damnit.
The WOD:

  • Upright Row x6
  • High Pull Snatch x6
  • Squat Push Press x6
  • Bent Over Row x6
  • High Pull Snatch x6
3 Rounds, with 21 pound DB's. 

AND (see yesterday's blog), I attempted my Renegade Rows. Woot! Did my goal of 3, 3 count rows. I do need to find a little bit lighter weight for that to be a successful, prolonged exercise. But, HEY. I'm a stronger than I gave myself credit for. 

And that, I think, is an excellent way to wrap up today's verbose post. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

“A wise man adapts himself to circumstances as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.”

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 47:

Oops. Yeah. No excuses, but the day just got away from me today. It was supposed to be Lifting Day, but somehow one thing led to another, and suddenly it's 9:30pm, and it didn't happen. Damn. I would lift now, but then I'll never sleep, and I have enough issues with that already!

However. This is just a learning opportunity. First lesson:
a) I should've prioritized a little bit better today. Going forward, planning a set time for a workout on a busy day is imperative.
b) Sometimes, things are going to happen. No need to stress. Just going to figure out how to squeeze in that workout tomorrow.

Plan for tomorrow. Tomorrow is officially Run Day. I need to begin my run a little bit earlier - I'm trying to get a little more mileage out of my current route. Literally. The last run was only 2.6mi. I'm thinking if I start running a bit earlier, I'll maybe stretch it to 3 mi. Definitely need to scout some more routes. Partially because in order to stretch out this route, I'm going to be running uphill for the first good portion of my workout. LOL. Awesome.

Then, when I get back from the run, I'm thinking I'll bang out set of complexes, so I get the lifting in. Probably I'll do one of the sets that aren't heavy on Squats, etc. as my legs will probably be done, but regardless, I'll get some weights in. I'm oddly interested to try to do Renegade Rows. I'm not sure I have the strength to execute very many of them, but you have to start somewhere! I'm aiming to do 3 good pushups (they're way harder with your elbows in like you need to be do to the rows), with the corresponding rows. SO. That's 6 rows, 3 pushups. I can do that.

So. Slight off-track today, but no-need to derail the whole train! Back to gettin' after it tomorrow!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Nothing will work unless you do." -Maya Angelou

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 46:

Run Day! So, I am happy to report that, despite the fact that mornings are definitely not my thing (see previous post), I had my sneakers on and was walking out the door at 7:05am. WOOT.

I used some inspiration from my Spartan Chick ladies on the message board, got my head in the right place, did *not* hit snooze, and climbed out of bed on time. How bad do I want it? I want it enough to put in the work, damnit.

Today, I ran 2.6 mi. in 33 minutes, putting my average at 12.69 average mile. Which is horridly slow. EVEN for me. However, allow me to explain. haha... First, it was like running through a sticky puddle today. The humidity was out of control. Seriously. I'm real glad I ran so early in the morning, because it would've been unbearable at any other time. AND, despite the fact that it slowed down my average, I conquered a tiny bit of a mental hurdle: I RAN up the ENTIRE hill that I've been using as my warm-up walk. It was the very first part of my run (the first 1/8 of a mile), and gassed me a little bit to start out the 'regular' part of my run... but ultimately, I settled in, added two minutes to my overall running time, and made it up that damn hill at a run. THAT is what's important.

I've decided that I am, definitely, going to have to seek out other routes, because the one that I am currently running is just not long enough. The 2.6mi that I ran today, can't really be extended unless I happen to run uphill for the first mile. Which... Well, to be honest, I may end up doing. Spartan Tough, after all!
Although, it would be nice to have a route to run without a mile at a 45 degree angle. And just a change of scenery. In a nutshell, I'm on the hunt for a 5K loop, in the area.

On a side note, I had a great experience today. I met some family I've never met before. Apparently one of them had been secretly stalking me on Facebook (yes, a tiny bit creepy, I suppose), and the  first thing she said to me after "It's great to meet you!" was "OMG, have you lost a LOT of weight!?" If that's not a cool ego boost, I don't know what is. AND, There were even some random pictures taken of me that I don't hate! Woo! That's a huge improvement in my mental state.

Whew. It's been a long day. On which note, I'm headed off to bed to rest up - It's Lifting Day tomorrow! Yeah! Heavy stuff!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

No Matter How Slow You Go...

The Thought I'm going to bed with, so as to wake up at 6:30am for a run, in an inspired, positive mood!

"Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.” - August Wilson

So, I wasn't going to post this, as it's not quite as positive and upbeat as I generally aim to be... HOWEVER. Then I reminded myself that the entire purpose of this blog is to chronicle my journey - Good, Bad, and Ugly.

Today I had a much needed rest day. Tomorrow, it's back to the workouts. There is a tiny obstacle (Obstacles are made to be climbed over, under, or through, right?!), though... I'm being dragged to an extended family BBQ  - 4.5 hours away. That means I have to be ready to be in the car at 8:30. With a half hour to shower/dress, and an hour (round trip) to get my run in, that puts me crawling out of bed at 6:30-7am.

This might be an excellent time to note just how much of a non-morning person I am. It's not to say it can't happen, but it is not a natural, or fun thing for me. Particularly when it's something I *don't* want to do. I *want* to run... I do NOT want to go to this family thing... which is putting my brain in a not-great place, for a lot of reasons. Particularly when it involves getting up so early.


BUT. I'm reminding myself what's important. Prioritizing myself is important. Getting healthy is important. Chasing down my goals is important. Getting "Spartan" is important. AROO!

So. As a form of accountability, I'm telling you, Cyberspace: I will be up, sneakers on and out the door, by 7am tomorrow.

Until I'm 6 feet under
Baby I don't need a bed
Gonna live while I'm alive
I'll sleep when I'm dead
Till they roll me over
And lay my bones to rest
Gonna live while I'm alive
I'll sleep when I'm dead......

Bon Jovi - I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (Album: Keep The Faith)

(PS. Yes. I'm drinking my damn water!)

"What is without periods of rest will not endure." Ovid

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 45:

Rest Day! Woo! I feel like I've really earned it this last week-ish. Because of Life getting in the way, and me having to rearrange my workouts and stuff to accommodate, somehow I ended up going 8 days in a row, without a break. SO, today was a well-earned rest day.

I think I'm going to take a stroll with friend later, and try and figure out the location of a local fitness trail. Word on the street is that it has 'stations' with activities (like a pull up bar, etc.), which would be handy. Plus, it will be nice to incorporate a bit more of an easy trail run.

And now... back to the chillin'. :-)

Friday, September 2, 2011

“If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.” ~ Muhammad Ali

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 44:

Run Day, today... Yeehaw! It was also the last thing standing between me and Rest Day. That was apparent to me during this particular run. Didn't feel quite as springy as I have been, although I'm also attributing that to the reappearance of the heat. I am really not a lover of the heat, and it just feels so much harder to breathe when it's hot. Although, I am noticing that during my runs, even when I'm fatigued and pushing, my breathing is steady and regular. I'm not panting, or anything like that. I feel like that, health-wise, is huge, as well as a significant improvement for me. 8 weeks ago, I couldn't even think of running 30 minutes, much less 3 minutes.

Today, I'm happy to report that I kept pushing the line, ever so slightly, and upped today's run to 31 minutes.  I think I went about 2.72 miles, making my average mile time: 11.40 min.  I think I'm going to try keeping a little better track of my mileage now. To this point, I've been mostly concerned with getting to a 30 minute run. Now I'm going to try to keep edging up the time run, as well as keeping track of my pace. Can't have too much data... and thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it isn't really too much effort to push a button on the phone to start tracking!

I'm happy with that run today. Another notch up the ladder!

I'll tell ya, though... I'm SO excited to have a Rest Day tomorrow. Like, do nothing. I think my body is cool with that. haha... Sleep in, and chill. And eat protein. Holy crap do I crave protein lately. (Muscle building? woot!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A hydrated cell is a happy cell!

AND, I'm thirsty again. FML. Okay, so for a couple days, I stopped toting around my Nalgene bottle, constantly full of water, and now I'm thirsty than hell. AGAIN.
Back to the quest for hydration tomorrow. *sigh*. I've decided there has to be a better way!!! Bleh. Water.
Yes, Blog, currently, I'm just venting my frustration. Grr.

And I totally forgot to seek out a PVC pipe for hamstring rolling. Damn. Tomorrow. After my Run.

Run Day in the morning! Yay! Going to attempt to beat my 30 minute record.......

"There is never a better measure of what a person is than what he does when he's absolutely free to choose." - William M. Bulger

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 43:

Ah, Bodyweight Exercise Day. While I, admittedly, loathe this particular workout day of mine (I find it really weird that now, I would much rather go bust my ass on a run, than do this sort of thing...), I noticed some distinct progress today. I wasn't as fatigued, I was able to do more dips correctly (not the modified easier way), squeeze out a few more burpees without dying... you know, little things.

The WOD:

  • 300 turns (approx 5 minutes) of jump rope (I think I'm actually getting better at this!)
  • Squats (40)
  • Pushups (50) - Still on my knees. GRR. Real pushups, I'm gunning for you!
  • Split Squats (60) 
  • Chair Dips (40) - approx half of them done, unmodified! Yay!
  • Calf Raises (60)
  • Lunges (40)
  • Scissor Kicks (40)
  • Ball Crunches (80)
    .... AND.....
  • BURPEES (of Death). ... (10).   Yeah. Gotta work on those. LOL. 
So, I've been having trouble with my hamstrings of late, so some of these things (lunges, squats), I did a little bit less than usual. It feels good to warm up the muscles a bit, but until I sort out the soreness, etc. I need to go a little easy. (and yes, I do have an official "Rest Day" coming up.)

Today's quest, go acquire a 12", 3-4" diameter PVC pipe. 

Random, I know. However, it will be for the purpose of rolling out my hamstrings. Between some thoughts from my TG (Trainer Guru), and some great info from the ladies on the Spartan Chicked group, I have some new ideas. Even got a .pdf of the 'right' way to self-roll out my muscles, while looking less like a beaching whale and/or a turtle on it's back. Nice! 

OH, and nice little ancillary benefit of all this training: I was trying on some killer new heels for a wedding I'm in in a couple of weeks, and got a comment on my "amazing" calves, in those heels.  LOL. Thank you running, calf raises, etc. Who doesn't love another excuse to buy more heels?